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1/24/12, Wolves

(by Jim Beers, retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist, Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.)

From wolves to hunting licenses, things are not as they appear in America today.

As I write this the Minnesota Legislature has just convened and Minnesotans are watching their wallets as politicians promise to build a football stadium and a Minor League baseball stadium while simultaneously cutting state spending and maintaining state services at current tax levels. Contained within this seemingly impossible legislative agenda, is an apparently straight-forward proposal to increase state hunting and fishing license fees.

Though most Minnesotans consider the state license fee increases a cut-and-dried matter and the spend/cut/tax illusions as a maelstrom of lies and hidden agendas; there is no difference between the hidden agendas and destructive forces driving both the fee increases and the rest of these “something for nothing” political promises. It is these very slight-of-hand fantasies that are bankrupting Europe and that ultimately will destroy this nation. These fantasies depend on our gullibility and our silent acceptance of patently absurd claims by those in charge.

For instance:

- Worried about current government drives to expand abortion by publicly funding it and eliminating institutions that oppose it? Not to worry, a recent UN “Report” informs us that abortion is “less safe” in countries that prohibit it. The fact that half of those coming through the doors for an abortion die; is of no matter and does not enter into our calculations about “safety”.

- Worried about future energy prices and availability? Not to worry, “electric” cars will free us from “oil dependence”. The fact that the “electricity” must be generated by burning coal is conveniently overlooked.

- Worried about the mounting cost of lost energy and irrigation water as dams are destroyed, Canadian fuel pipelines are denied US entry, Chinese oil rigs drill in the Straits of Florida, and Chinese oil tankers prepare to receive Billions of barrels of Canadian crude oil from a proposed pipeline to a British Columbian port? Not to worry, America will soon “lead the world in renewable (solar and wind) energy”. The fact that such energy is, and forever will be so far as anyone knows, just a pittance of the energy available from non-renewables (coal, oil, gas and nuclear) that will be available for centuries is simply an inconvenient truth to be jeered whenever mentioned.

State hunting and fishing license fees are becoming less and less adequate to fund fish and wildlife programs every year. Whether we call them DNR’s as in Minnesota or FWP’s as in Montana, these state agencies preside over less and less successful hunting and fishing programs that result in fewer and fewer hunters and fishermen. Their strong dependence on hunting and fishing license revenue is viewed as something that will inevitably disappear as we become more environmentally “sensitive” and submit to “equality” (animal “rights”) with animals in the eyes of government. Thus we have the situation wherein fewer and fewer hunters and fishermen are charged more and more to pursue fewer and fewer hunting and fishing opportunities. This further destroys hunting and fishing as costs become prohibitive and other factors such as unmanaged and inaccessible public lands, method restrictions, current federal laws like the Endangered Species Act replacing state authority with federal and national radical group values, and proposed federal laws like federal Invasive Species authority and Native Ecosystem Restoration Programs grow or are enacted. The hope in state fish and wildlife agencies is that eventually state general tax funds and federal appropriated funds disbursed through federal agencies for federal mandates will be made available to fund these agencies in perpetuity. That this is believed merely confirms the gullibility of radical activists and government bureaucrats as well as the inability of hunters, fishermen and their support groups to grasp the reality of their situation.

Wolves are now present in approximately half of the Lower 48 States as a result of federal Endangered Species authority, federal introductions, and federal protection. Wolves have and are increasingly killing livestock and dogs. Wolves have killed and eaten a Canadian college student and an Alaskan school teacher in the last six years. How many people attacked or killed per year will be tolerable to maintain government wolves? Two kids at a bus stop per year(?); four old ladies that were checking their mailbox every two years (?); one teenager cleaning a deer each hunting season? Believe me; we are going to find out.

Elk and moose hunting have been decimated where wolves have become ubiquitous and killed adults, young, and fetuses. Attacks on humans become more likely as wolf numbers increase and wolves become habituated to human presence. An accurate and particularly powerful example of what wolves have done and are doing to state fish and wildlife agencies titledFWP Flunks Econ 101; Looks for Bailout” by Gary Marbut, president Montana Shooting Sports Association details the situation currently facing Montana residents and “their” state fish and wildlife agency. I have attached it at the end of this article.

As in Montana and Alaska, wolves have been and are decimating big game herds and hunting from deer to moose in Minnesota. As in Montana, Idaho, and other states where wolves are becoming established and habituated, state fish and wildlife agencies lie to and bamboozle the public from hunters and fishermen to ranchers, retirees, and rural families with kids and dogs. The disappearance of Minnesota moose is concurrent with the increase in numbers of wolves in moose country but the blame is placed on global “warming” and public meetings about moose are not open to discussion of wolves since state experts “know” that “depredation is not a problem”. Declining deer harvest, by numerous and enthusiastic Minnesota deer hunters, is blamed on “windy opening day weather” in northern counties bursting with wolves.

Last year citizen cries in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming where wolves were increasingly wreaking human, livestock, domestic animal, and rural “Tranquility” havoc resulted in an Act of Congress that specifically “returned” authority over wolves to state government in those states. Hunting and trapping have been ongoing with only a few hundred wolves taken out of several thousand. When an annual harvest of 70% of the wolves for a decade or more is needed to get their numbers to tolerable levels and restore human safety, big game herds, and domestic “tranquility”; actual harvests of less than 20% were attained in this initial hunt and smaller harvests are sure as wolves learn to modify their behavior to avoid human harassment. Aerial hunting on snow (the only sure and effective harvest method as Alaskans and Asians living with wolves know all too well) faces lawsuits, private property issues, federal land prohibitions, and a lack of funds.

Minnesota and Wisconsin recently were informed that the federal government will “return” management of wolves to state government. As with the aforementioned states, federal overseers will “monitor” wolf management forever and will intervene whenever in their judgment the moment right in the future. Since there is no finite description of the conditions that will trigger such federal intervention it is truly at the mercy of future political and bureaucratic opportunism.

So, as we are told “why” state fish and wildlife agencies (in my case the Minnesota DNR) “need” higher license revenue, try to cut through the fog. As their lips move regarding how they can no longer manage state lands for pheasants or census deer for special seasons or enforce all those “slot limits” and hook restrictions on this or that lake or enforce all those waterfowl rest areas; remember how you can tell when a lawyer or politician is lying. Mr Marbut of Montana describes this same situation in Montana very well and everyone reading this, especially Minnesotans today, needs to think about how your hunting and fishing money (licenses, excise taxes, permits, stamps, etc.) has been spent and is about to be spent.

To paraphrase Henny Youngman, take wolves (please!). When state fish and wildlife agencies are “given” authority (limited though it may be) over wolves, they face new expenditures for:

- Counting wolves with enough accuracy to withstand lawsuits and prove their worthiness to federal overseers.

- Setting (hearings, drafting, reviewing, comment documentation, etc.) wolf regulations annually.

- Finding, documenting, and killing problem (livestock, kids, dogs, hunters, etc.) wolves.

- Enforcing (patrol, investigating, prosecuting, etc.) wolf law/regulations violations.

- Documenting harvests with seals, stamps, reports, etc.

- Responding to wolf complaints, violation reports, sightings, etc.

- Writing and publishing Reports about everything from recent statistics to citizen responsibilities and rights.

- Advising hunters and dog owners of recent situations and providing advice.

- Responding (providing data, on-staff lawyers, staff experts, Universities on retainer, etc.) to lawsuits.

- Managing methods of take (rifles, shotguns, traps, snares, dogs (killers like wolfhounds), planes, gunner qualifications, classes, poisons, etc.) and limits and reporting/record-keeping requirement enforcement.

- Licensing and checking taxidermists and tanners for reports, seals, tags, etc.

- Depredation/attack documentation for livestock, dogs, and human encounters.

- Depredation reimbursement for livestock/dog losses.

- Public relations in the media, schools, rural groups, etc.

- Vehicles, travel costs for all the increased activity.

- Coordination with and “training” from federal overseers.

- University “research” to defend current responses to serious current issues as they develop.

- Emergency reaction response capability to emergencies like attacks on kids and old folks.

- Coordinating with other states to stay current with what works (biologically, socially, bureaucratically, etc.) with the public, politicians, federal overseers, and wolf lovers that lose dogs, etc.

- Development and maintenance of a public story that maintains the “wolves are wonderful” image and that refutes any and all claims of wolves being dangerous or destructive of rural Americans or the American way of life. (There may have been one or two things I missed in this list.)

Where will the money for all this come from? If you said from the state hunting and fishing money and redirected state personnel - go to the head of the class! If you answered from “The General Fund” you need to listen to the news and read the newspapers especially about fleeing legislators, state debts, government salaries and benefits, Governor Recalls, and Tea Parties.

Yes, wolves are and will increasingly be expensive for the same state agencies that “need” increased revenue to decimate the goose laying the golden revenue egg. Like Lenin’s observation about capitalists (whom he held in contempt just as the state and federal fish and wildlife agencies have contempt for their former clients) selling him the rope by which he would hang them, we hunters and fishermen will give the state agencies the revenue by which they will hang us as they spend it more and more on the wolves they allowed the feds to foist on us. Thank you urban America and thank all you environmental and animal rights outfits that are killing this country.

So I will dutifully believe and be thankful as Minnesota politicians tell me they will build stadiums, cut spending, maintain services, and not increase taxes. So too will I call for support of “my” DNR and whatever license fee increase they want in order to “save” hunting and fishing. I was hopeful that the “special” state income tax increase of almost one percent earmarked for them that they got three years ago was “enough” but evidently it wasn’t. Shucks, doesn’t everything go “up” all the time and doesn’t “everyone” get increases all the time? I hope you have read this tale and decide to send “my” DNR money for wolves and when your turn comes I will try and do the same for you.

Our “sweet land of liberty” has become our rulers’ “sweet land of humbuggery”.

Jim Beers – 24 January 2012


FWP Flunks Econ 101; Looks for Bailout

Editorial by Gary Marbut, president Montana Shooting Sports Association

The Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks is reported to be running out of money because of decreased hunting license purchases, and is considering asking the Legislature for license fee increases. This is the first obvious symptom of something known as agency "death spiral" for FWP.

Over the past two decades, FWP has come to focus on wildlife and biology, when it should have been focused on fish and game. This includes FWP's shocking tolerance and support for large predators. FWP's total, willing, even eager cooperation with fostering excessive populations of large predator has long been predicted to end in a financial crash for the agency, as word unavoidably spreads that there is no game left to hunt so there is no reason to buy a license.

For too long, FWP leaders have leaned on the scales of public policy by making excuses for the devastation wrought upon game herds by large predators, by fudging game counts and census numbers, and by blaming any game population declines that could not be covered up on climate change, sunspots, lazy hunters, or aliens - anything but the truth. This coverup culture has been fostered by senior staff, always near retirement, who knew they'd be long gone from the hot seat when the FWP financial bus blundered off a cliff.

If the overall FWP attitude had not been so Hell-bent on "ecosystem management," "biological diversity," "natural balance" and other similar catchy but terminal "green" ideas destined to end hunting, FWP managers would have predicted the current agency financial crisis years ago. Nobody at FWP noticed or cared several years ago when the editor of the NRA's nationwide American Hunter magazine published a feature article about his fruitless elk hunting trip to southwest Montana, a trip where the only tracks he saw were wolf tracks. Nobody at FWP noticed or cared about the other hundreds of warnings from Montana citizens. Worse, those warnings were even ridiculed by FWP in mad pursuit of its own elite agenda.

The stock mantra from FWP managers has been: We're the professionals. We know best. The outcome that concerned citizens predict will never come to pass. The "evidence" of crashing game herds citizens offer is just "campfire stories" and is without merit because it doesn't come from paid FWP "professionals."

Yet when retired FWP employees, freed from the institutional FWP muzzle, tell that FWP-tolerated wolves are turning the Montana landscape into a "biological desert," FWP dismisses such comments summarily.

For the last two decades, FWP has been busy digging a hole for itself. As it sees daylight disappearing around the edges of the hole, it still won't quit digging.

Of course, the obvious solution for the bureaucratic-bound and reality-disconnected FWP will be to announce, "We've been managing wildlife for the general public (including the non-Montana public) for years. Now we need the general public to pay the bills." FWP has so fouled its nest by wasting the Montana hunting resource on predators and inadvisably removing hunters from the economic equation that it will now go to the Legislature asking for relief, including increased fees that hunters simply won't pay to access a vanishing resource, and, ultimately, asking for tax increases on the general taxpayer seeking a bailout from the results of its bad decisions.

You can bet that when FWP approaches the Legislature demanding an allowance increase as a reward for having flunked Econ 101, MSSA and thousands of Montana hunters will be there to say "Absolutely no way." FWP has not only ignored the many warnings from Montana hunters, it has mocked and disrespected them. Also ignoring a state law requiring it to control large predators to protect game herds, FWP has bulled its way down a path surrounded with warning signs.

What FWP needs is not more or alternate sources of money, but a total change in attitude and culture. Until that happens, let FWP starve! It is not serving Montana.


If you found this worthwhile, please share it with others. Thanks.


Jim Beers is a retired US Fish & Wildlife Service Wildlife Biologist,
Special Agent, Refuge Manager, Wetlands Biologist, and Congressional Fellow. He was stationed in North Dakota, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York City, and Washington DC. He also served as a US Navy Line Officer in the western Pacific and on Adak, Alaska in the Aleutian Islands. He has worked for the Utah Fish & Game, Minneapolis Police Department, and as a Security Supervisor in Washington, DC. He testified three times before Congress; twice regarding the theft by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of $45 to 60 Million from State fish and wildlife funds and once in opposition to expanding Federal Invasive Species authority. He resides in Eagan, Minnesota with his wife of many decades.


Jim Beers is available to speak or for consulting. You can receive future articles by sending a request with your e-mail address to: jimbeers7@comcast.net




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